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Wilderness Explorer

Former name: Spirit of Discovery

Wilderness Explorer Review and Specifications

Specifications of Wilderness Explorer

Year built1976  /  Age : 44
Flag state USA
BuilderEastern Shipbuilding Group (Panama City, Florida USA)
Classice-strengthened expedition ship
OwnerInnerSea Discoveries Alaska Inc
OperatorUnCruise Adventures
Speed11 kn / 20 kph / 13 mph
Length (LOA)57 m / 187 ft
Beam (width)11 m / 36 ft
Gross Tonnage910 gt
Passengers74 - 84
Passengers-to-space ratio12
Decks with cabins3
Last Refurbishment2012
Former namesSpirit of Discovery

Review of Wilderness Explorer

In 2012, MS Wilderness Explorer joined the UnCruise Adventures fleet as the company's 3rd expedition ship. Originally built in 1976 by “Eastern Shipbuilding” as the 86-passenger “Spirit of Discovery” (for Cruise West), the boat was extensively renovated in 2012 in order to cruise on Alaska-Glacier Bay itineraries. Like all UnCruise ships, Wilderness Explorer is US-flagged and crewed.

History - construction and ownership

The 910-ton, 74-passenger ship Wilderness Explorer cruises in Southeast Alaska during summer months. Ship’s hull design and her shallow draft allow easy access to Alaska’s wildlife and a variety of adventure excursions. Each Un-Cruise Adventures’ ship navigates together with a fishing boat that is fully-equipped.

Wilderness Explorer cruise ship

Un-Cruise Adventures (formerly American Safari Cruises) is an USA-based, wholly-owned cruise company, a subsidiary of InnerSea Discoveries Alaska. In 2013, the American Safari Cruises line was renamed to "Un-Cruise Adventures". Currently, the company has 2 headquarters - main headquarters in Seattle WA and second in Juneau AK.

Cruise itinerary program

MS Wilderness Explorer schedule calendar includes Alaska small ship cruises departing from Juneau, Ketchikaand Sitka.


Wilderness Explorer has 3 passenger decks and only 37 cabins, all of which are Oceanview. The cabin grades number is 3. Wilderness Explorer has a lounge that is much larger than the one on board the other Un-Cruise Adventures’ vessels. The staterooms, even though the same size, feel much bigger.

Shipboard dining options - Food and Drinks

Meals onboard the Wilderness Explorer are served buffet-style at set times. Soda, juice and lemonade are included in the cruise price. The pastry chef guarantees guests will replenish calories quickly.

Wilderness Explorer cruise ship

Shipboard entertainment options - Fun and Sport

Wilderness Explorer has a Spa area with sauna, massage room, fitness equipment and a hot tub. The ship also features a Lounge, Bar (Douglas fir) and Library. The Un-Cruise Explorer ship easily visits areas that larger ships cannot and offers adventure equipment including paddle boards, kayaks, inflatable skiffs, hydrophone and underwater camera (linked to yacht’s lounge and stateroom TVs).

Wilderness Explorer - user reviews and comments

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Wilderness Explorer ship related cruise news

Wilderness Explorer Wiki

In 2012, the Wilderness Explorer ship became the 3rd expedition cruise ship in the fleet of the Un-Cruise company. Originally built for the Cruise West line (as the 86-passenger MV Spirit of Discovery), the vessel was extensively renovated to accommodate 76 passengers on Alaska Glacier Bay cruise itineraries between Sitka and Juneau.

Wilderness Explorer features a larger lounge compared the other Un-Cruise ships. Its passenger cabins, even though with the same footage, feel bigger. 

All Un-Cruise ships have navy blue coloured hulls. The Explorer ship is a great choice for those who like expedition-style Alaska cruising and activities, combined with onboard luxury amenities. The other Un-Cruise "Wilderness" ships are Discoverer and Adventurer.

Wilderness Explorer is a typical expedition cruise ship equipped with paddle boards and kayaks; inflatable skiffs; hiking poles. The ship also has a hydrophone (for below water surface sounds) and underwater camera (real-time images are displayed on all the TVs onboard).

Together with some of its fleet mates, this ship was formerly owned and operated as "Spirit of Discovery" by the Cruise West line (1973-2010, now defunct). Based in Seattle WA (USA), at its peak Cruise West had a fleet of 9 small ships (capacity between 78 and 138 passengers). They operated on cruise itineraries in Alaska, British Columbia and also in the Pacific Ocean (Sea of Cortes, Panama, South Pacific islands, East Asia and Russia). The line ceased operations in September 2010.

From the former Cruise West fleet are also the ships Spirit of Columbia (Baranof Dream), Spirit of Alaska (Admiralty Dream), Spirit of Glacier Bay (Chichagof Dream), Spirit of Endeavour (Safari Endeavour), Spirit of ’98 (Safari Legacy, now SS Legacy), Spirit of Yorktown (Americana).

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